AHMED JIBRIL AND THE PFLP-GC – 02/09/1988

[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold]  Part 62 – SEPTEMBER 2 1988

“The Americans will never, ever find out how I did it.”

Ahmed Jibril – Champagne party to celebrate the downing of Pan Am 103

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) is usually described as a pan-Arab, secular, Marxist-Leninist group. Yet, in the early 90s, the group adopted a religion inspired rhetoric which is quite unique for such organization. On March 5 1989 Jibril pledged to carry out “the Islamic verdict, to protect Islam and its prophet.”

Ahmed Jibril

Ahmed Jibril

Ahmed Jibril, who had served in the Syrian army with the rank of captain, formed the PFLP-GC in October 1968. Jibril broke away from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for political reasons. Among Palestinian organizations, the PFLP-GC stands out for its adamant rejection of any political settlement with Israel.

Since its creation, the PFLP-GC has received financial assistance from Syria, Libya and Iran. The sponsor from such sates has enabled the group to operate in the international arena to achieve its aims, namely to consistently and systematically oppose negotiations with Israel. [1]

Syria has always been the chief backer of the PFLP-GC, giving it logistical and military support. According to a well informed organization, Syria continued during the late 80s and early 90s to provide political and material support for Palestinian groups who maintain their headquarters in Damascus and who have committed terrorist acts in the past.

“Most notably, the PFLP-GC operates its propaganda radio station, al Quds, broadcasts from Syrian soil. Syria also hosts the Abu Musa group, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).” [2]

When Syria’s economy declined, towards the end of the 80s, the PFLP-GC sought additional state sponsors.

The group was able to procure the assistance of Libya in 1986. Some of the most spectacular attacks of PFLP-GC, such as the unconventional attacks on Israel using motorized hang-gliders and hot-air balloons, are believed to have been funded by Qadhafi.

It has been alleged that Qadhafi relinquished terrorism in 1989 and expelled the PFLP-GC from Libya. This allegation is certainly disputed. The document “Patterns of Global Terrorism 1990” states that Libya may retain ties to it. [3]

“Qadhafi’s claims of having expelled certain terrorist groups — the PLF, ANO, and PFLP-GC — remained unsubstantiated as of the end of 1990. Libya also resumed funding to the PFLP-GC, and possibly other Palestinian terrorist groups, in 1990.” [4]

Wherever lies the truth, it certainly appears that, in the alter 1980s, the PFLP-GC also built a close relationship with Iran, and began to receive Iranian financial assistance, although Jibril himself has denied that he was receiving funds from Tehran. Jibril had already identified himself with Iran since 1983. [5]

In the late 80s, Iranian support for terrorism included extensive support for Hezbollah, the PFLP-GC, the PIJ, and other groups. Help from Tehran to these organizations included provision of arms, funding, and training.

Links between the PFLP-GC and Iran became closer in December 1987. Ahmed Jibril and Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian Foreign Minister at the time, met in Tripoli, Libya. During their meeting, Jibril conveyed to Velayati his support “for the Islamic Revolution”, and the rhetoric of the PFLP-GC began to change.

Soon after that meeting, Jibril began to collaborate with Tehran to create “an Islamic organization for the liberation of Palestine.” Replacing the PLO has been a constant objective of Jibril who always resented a deep rooted hate for Arrafat. In April 1988, representatives of the PFLP-GC, the FRC and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad met in Libya to discuss the creation of such organization.

In September 1988 a major conference was held in Tehran to elaborate plans to intensify attacks against Israel. Velayati himself chaired the meeting.

Ahmed Jibril, leaders of the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah and of the Lebanese Sunni militia Tawhid, Ahmed Jibril and Abu Musa attended the meeting.

In December, Jibril called for the establishment of a “formal Palestinian-Iranian alliance” Before the end of the year, such an alliance was formed between the PFLP-GC, the FRC, and Hezbollah High ranking Hezbollah activists allegedly discussed with the PFLP-GC plans to bomb American and French targets. [6]

Major terrorist figures, including Ahmed Jibril and Dalkamoni (also a member of Syrian Security) of the PFLP-GC and various prominent members of Hezbollah, frequently visited Iran.

“Iran hosted a World Conference on Palestine in Tehran in December in an effort to gain increasing influence over Islamic affairs, in general, and over the Palestinian movement, in particular. Leaders of several radical Palestinian and Lebanese groups including Salqa, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad attended.” [7]

“We fight together with our Hezbollah brothers,” Ahmed Jibril said in a long interview to the Arabic weekly Al-Wasat, published in London. “For example, 24 hours ago, we were in a single action in the south Lebanon against the common enemy (Israel).”

“These links are open to all fighters. We have repeatedly told the Palestinians and the Lebanese who are rising up in the south to coordinate positions with us, for the benefit of both sides,” Jibril declared.

“We do not deny that we have made a pact with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad, or that there is full coordination between us and these elements. I will give an example: several days ago, we carried out a joint operation against the Israeli enemy in which one of our brothers from Hizbullah participated in which a Merkava tank was completely blown up, its pieces scattering in all directions,” Jibril has also said. [8]

During Israel occupation of a strip of southern Lebanon, which ended in May 2000, several hundred guerrillas of the PFLP-GC fought against Israeli forces alongside Hezbollah. Starting in the alter 80s, the PFLP-GC began to act more in response to orders from Teheran than those from Damascus. [9]

NOTES AND REFERENCES

1. THE PFLP- GC

2. Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1990
Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism

3. Terrorism: Middle Eastern Groups and State Sponsors, 2000
Kenneth Katzman , Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

4. Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1990
Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism

5. SOCIOPSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES: CASE STUDIES

6. The International Dimension of PFLP-GC Activity, by David Tal
The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies
JCSS Project on Low Intensity Warfare & The Jerusalem Post

7. Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1990
Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism

8. Indirect strategies in the middle-east: the rules of the game (1990)

9. Closer Cooperation between Jibril and Hizbullah
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affair

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